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Re: Fwd: Re: Bug#769716: iceweasel: downloads Cisco's OpenH264 video codec



* Chuck Peters:

> https://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=769716
>
> It seems Mozilla, and Debian have an issues with the MPEG patent. When 
> might Debian distribute openh264 and MPEG LA source and binaries?

Debian already distributes H.264 encoders and decoders, so there's no
issue there except the question of DFSG-freeness of this software
distribution mechanism.  I think this is heavily in doubt, so the
download should be disabled, and a system codec should be used
instead.

The OpenH264 binary does not solve the patent licensing issue for many
users because commercial use is not permitted:

| THIS PRODUCT IS LICENSED UNDER THE AVC PATENT PORTFOLIO LICENSE FOR
| THE PERSONAL USE OF A CONSUMER OR OTHER USES IN WHICH IT DOES NOT
| RECEIVE REMUNERATION TO (i) ENCODE VIDEO IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE AVC
| STANDARD (“AVC VIDEO”) AND/OR (ii) DECODE AVC VIDEO THAT WAS ENCODED
| BY A CONSUMER ENGAGED IN A PERSONAL ACTIVITY AND/OR WAS OBTAINED
| FROM A VIDEO PROVIDER LICENSED TO PROVIDE AVC VIDEO.  NO LICENSE IS
| GRANTED OR SHALL BE IMPLIED FOR ANY OTHER USE.  ADDITIONAL
| INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM MPEG LA, L.L.C. SEE
| HTTP://WWW.MPEGLA.COM

<http://www.openh264.org/BINARY_LICENSE.txt>

In some jurisdictions, this more restrictive than no license agreement
at all.  For example, in Germany, non-commercial use of a patent by an
individual end user is never infringement (§11 Nr. 1 PatG).

The MPEG LA is currently structurally incapable of providing patent
licenses for Internet-based videoconferencing.  This document is
referenced from Cisco's license agreement:

<http://www.mpegla.com/main/programs/avc/Documents/AVC_TermsSummary.pdf>

It lists the following categories of sublicensees:

* Subscription
* Title-by-Title
* Internet Broadcast
* Free Television

None of these categories even remotely approach video conferencing.
This means the whole thing is a sham.  Cisco pays an unspecified
licensing fee, but does not receive anything in return.  Specifically,
it is completely unclear whether Mozilla (or web sites which use
WebRTC or offer WebRTC-based services) are protected from infringement
claims by members of the MPEG LA patent pool.

This is difficult for MEPG LA to rectify because it is apparently
impossible to reopen negotiations of the pool license terms.


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